Who is Judas?

Judas, the arch-betrayer, was one of the twelve disciples whom Jesus had chosen to be apostles during His earthly ministry (Matthew 10:1-4). Along with the others, he preached the message of the kingdom of God, performed miraculous healings, and cast out demons in the name of Jesus (10:7-8). Trusted by the others, who were entirely unsuspecting, he was given charge of their common purse, out of which he distributed money for the poor He also took dedicated funds for himself, for he was a thief (John 12:6). Money seemed to have dominated his thoughts, for he was the spokesman and apparent ringleader for the disciples who rebuked Mary for her “extravagant” worship of the Lord (John 12:4-5; Matthew 26:8-9). Right after Jesus’ rebuke for such misplaced priorities, Judas went out to betray his Master (26:14-16). So who was he, really? Outwardly, he seemed to be a model disciple of Christ, for he belonged to the chosen company of the apostles and behaved well enough to maintain the trust of the others. He clearly possessed some sort of faith, or he would not have been able to work miracles. From his preaching of the kingdom message, we know also that he had a clear understanding of at least the rudiments of truth. On the other hand, from his attitude towards Mary, and his selling of Jesus, we realize that his eye was not good. He wanted to lay up for himself treasures on earth by purloining funds from the offerings given to support Christ and his team. He was not seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:19, 23, 33). We now see that this wretched thief was a devoted worshiper of Mammon, not of God. With divided heart, he was loyal to his idol and despised Jesus. We may put the matter starkly and say that he loved Mammon and hated God and his Anointed One (6:24). Judas will be able to say on the last day, “Lord, Lord, have [I] not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” (7:22; see Hebrews 6:4-6) Like countless others who have appeared to be devout believers, however, he will hear those terrible words, “I never knew you [that is, He never had an intimate relationship with him]; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” He never really belonged to Christ’s people; that is why he went out from them (1 John 2:19). What a warning to us!